News/US: Berkeley Landlord, Son Indicted Other names added as co-conspirators

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Subject: News/US: Berkeley Landlord, Son Indicted Other names added as co-conspirators
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Fri Feb 04 2000 - 10:55:35 EST


Berkeley Landlord, Son Indicted Other names added as co-conspirators
Debra Levi Holtz
San Francisco Chronicle, February 2, 2000

BERKELEY -- A wealthy Berkeley landlord and his son were indicted yesterday
by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiring to illegally bring aliens
into the United States from India by submitting false visa applications.

Lakireddy Bali Reddy, 62, also faces two counts of ``transportation of a
minor in foreign commerce for illegal sexual activity,'' according to the
indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Oakland.

Reddy, who owns an estimated $70 million in real estate in the East Bay, is
charged with two additional counts of importing girls for immoral purposes
and harboring them in a Berkeley apartment.

The indictment, which adds unnamed co-conspirators, replaces criminal
complaints filed last month against Reddy and his son, Vijay Lakireddy, 30,
and adds other charges against each. The father and son, who are free on
bail, are scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment in U.S. District
Court on Monday.

Lakireddy declined to comment on the indictment yesterday.

Like the previous criminal complaints, the indictment alleges that Reddy
arranged to bring Indian citizens to the United States using special
high-tech visas and that Lakireddy submitted fraudulent petitions to the
Immigration and Naturalization Service, saying that the workers would be
employed at his company, Active Tech Solutions in Berkeley. One of the
workers was promised a $42,500-a-year computer programming job.

The workers were, instead, employed by Reddy and Lakireddy in their Pasand
restaurants in Berkeley and Santa Clara, as well as in their apartment and
office buildings in Berkeley, authorities allege.

Reddy also arranged for two teenage sisters to enter the country illegally
as dependents of the workers -- for sexual purposes, according to the
indictment. The criminal complaints alleged that Reddy brought the girls to
Berkeley to have sex with him.

Meanwhile, Berkeley police said yesterday that they found a bottle of
Viagra with Reddy's name on it in the apartment he occasionally shared with
the two teenage girls and a young woman.

The indictment identified one of the girls as Chanti Jyotsna Devi
Prattipati, who posed under the name Sitha Vemireddy when she came to
Berkeley in August. Her younger sister is not named in the indictment and
is in protective federal custody.

The investigation into Reddy began when 17-year-old Prattipati died from
accidental carbon monoxide exposure in a Berkeley apartment owned by Reddy
and where he allegedly engaged in sex repeatedly with the two girls and a
young Indian woman.

If convicted of all counts against him, Reddy faces a maximum of 70 years
in prison and a $1 million fine. Lakireddy faces a maximum of 20 years in
prison and a $750,000 fine if found guilty of all counts.

Melanie Orhant

morhant@igc.org
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